JRM Racing completes first laps of Le Mans
JRM Racing’s preparations for its debut Le Mans 24 Hours continued in the pre-race test day. The reigning FIA GT1 champions, owned by James Rumsey and managed by Nigel Stepney, is making starting its first Le Mans this year in the LMP1 category with a sole Honda HPD ARX 03a.
Drivers David Brabham, Peter Dumbreck and Karun Chandhok all completed laps of the 13.629km La Sarthe track, with the team capturing the 11th quickest time in the afternoon session; a 3:37.358.
David – who had flown in last night after qualifying for the Blancpain race in Silverstone – completed five laps after a delay caused by first a telemetry issue and then an oil leak. The Australian, the winner of the 2009 race, set a best time of a 3:46.802 on his second lap in the damp morning session to establish a baseline set-up for the rest of the test.
After a 1.5 hour delay caused by a front suspension issue, Peter took over the car just before midday and completed four laps before the lunchtime break. The Scot, who competes in the LMP1 category for the first time since 1999, ran a programme to evaluate the new aero package introduced since the 6 Hours of Spa and set a best time of 3:37.358 and a total of 21 laps. Karun then stepped in and alternated with Peter throughout the afternoon, setting a best time of 3:38.287 after 17 laps. The lap count for Karun means he has now effectively qualified for the event as a rookie driver.
Nigel Stepney, chief engineer and team manager
We had a few issues in the morning but that is what this day is about – shaking out any of the remaining issues. Once we got over these it was productive. We had a new aero package to test and the improvements gave the drivers the confidence to attack the track a lot more in the afternoon. While we know we’re not fighting with the likes of Audi and Toyota, we can very realistically be the highest petrol finisher so the focus from now on will be getting the reliability, introducing small performance modifications and getting the team together. It’s our first Le Mans ever, so getting the right rhythm and balance within the team is crucial.
I was obviously already running a shortened programme today but we lost a little more time at the start of the morning with an oil leak. I managed to do a few laps, which was good to be able to point the team in the right direction for the race. It’s always beneficial to have a baseline to build on and this was what it was about today.
I really enjoyed my time in the car today, my first ever laps of Le Mans. In reality the track is tougher than any other track I’ve driven! We lost a little bit of time in the morning but in the end we got some very productive work done, but the main goal was to get 10 laps in to qualify for the race next week. We managed that easily so it was objective achieved. I’m feeling much more prepared ahead of the big event – the times were pretty good and actually not 100% reflective of the speed of the car as each lap I got stuck in traffic behind slower cars. From now until next week it’s going to be back to the UK for some meetings and training and back here refreshed and ready on Monday.
The pace was very good and I think without the traffic we would easily have been higher up the classifications. Of all the privateer teams I think we are really up there and should be fighting for the highest petrol car honours come race week. We made improvements all the way through the day and the last batch of improvements were pretty good – we lowered the car, softened it a up a bit at the front so now the car is getting a lot of grip. It gives a bit of confidence and you can really push hard into the braking zones, which is where a lot of the time can be found. Overall I think it’s been a good day – it’s our first Le Mans as the team and we’ve had a few issues here and there, but if we take where we are today and where we want to be in race week, we should be fine.